Ping pong, pony rides and pool play
It’s hard not to look down your nose at the XXX Olympics. Yes, XXX. 30th Summer Games. But they’re not really using that moniker this time around. Usually the pompous inbreds at the IOC love to bandy around Roman numerals. Not this time. XXX is unwelcome by the uptight poms. I haven’t done it yet myself, but I suspect if you Google “XXX Olympics”, you’re going to see a different kind of javelin.
Last night I found myself watching a bow and arrow competition between a bunch of pretty girls that looked as though they would have settled for a Hello Kitty pencil case for winning, ahead of a gold medal. They had cute up-turned hats, pretty outfits, cracking smiles and dainty, flitty way of floating around their archery pitch. Field? Court? What is is that you arch on? The dreamy, lovely girls, in the glow of the London afternoon sun, seemed to be enjoying a winsome moment, without a quarrel or a quiver in sight. Except both.
I flicked a thousand or so channels up to find the grand-daughter of a queen, riding a pony through the wood in a royal park on the outskirts of the city. Thousands had gathered to cheer the blue-blood as she bolted around, jumping Lego houses and bails of hay, as quickly as she could. Sure, there is skill involved – but if a princess can do it, then surely, it’s just about having the spare time up your sleeve for practice (Royals have an extraordinary amount of spare time up their ruffled silk sleeves).
Across on channel 483 a couple of plump lads, straight from the pub, were smashing it out on the ping pong table. We used to have one in our garage, and would organise tournaments with all the kids in the neighbourhood over the summer holidays. One kid, from a couple of houses down, was particularly talent, and barely lost a game all summer. He could top spin, back spin, smash, lob – you name it. If only he had gone on with it, he could have found himself up against the best in the world, rallying for a gold medal at the XXX Olympics. If only. Instead he became an Oncologist. Fail.
The girls and guys that jump in the pool are fun to watch. Pretty, too. We used to jump off high things, like they do, into the river down near my old school. We’d climb a gum tree, shuffle out to the farthest limb, spin out a summersault or two (backwards, even, if you truly lost your grip), then plummet into the murky water below, holding your nose so you wouldn’t get meningitis. The big difference between us and the 14 year olds launching from the rafters of the London aquatic centre is… we tried to make a splash. As big as possible. If you didn’t make a splash, you were a miserable failure. If there were gold medals to be had back then, you’d stand no chance if you didn’t step out of the water with an arse as red as Ken Livingstone, or a belly flopped as much as Fosbury. Puh… no splash. Who do these divers think they are?
I can’t wait to see what’s on tonight.